Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dominican Republic - safe place for women but have your eyes open!

We were at the DR for a week. Wonderful weather, great people and a few extra excursions that took us to learn more about the real DR away from 5 star resorts.
Be sure that there will be music everywhere and the smallest of the children you encounter will be moving their hips and dancing to the merengue and  the bachata. The country is very sensual and I dared to say very sexual.
The moves, the looks and the sounds are definitely very sexual. As a young women put it when questioned why at 19 she was a single mother with one child and another on the way., the answer was simple:  mucho merenge, marijuana, praias calientes...

Single pregnant teens or young women holding babies is a sight that can sometimes overwhelm you, since they are poor, uneducated and with no future ahead.
A great number of girls work in the resorts, ten to twelve hours a day. But it is their way out and a light into the future.
They are warm, charming and entertaining and will try, when ever they can speak English. English is not mandatory in schools, unfortunately in a country that relies on tourism. Many go to private schools to learn.

`Primary education is provided free for all children from the ages 7 to 14, and although this is compulsory it is rarely enforced, especially in the rural areas.  Uniforms are required to attend school and these are not provided by the government, therefore those families that cannot afford to buy them do not send their children to school.  Books, pens, pencils, scribblers, and other necessary supplies are also the responsibility of the families and this too adds to lack of enrolment in the schools. 
Over the past years however, many non-profit organizations have established themselves in the Dominican Republic and these have greatly assisted in providing the necessary amenities for underprivileged children to take advantage of the school system.  Private citizens and foreign residents have also started various programs throughout the island to further help the less fortunate families in sending their kids to school.

Two-year intermediate school and a four-year secondary follow primary education, however the system caters more to the middle and upper class and therefore a large majority of Dominicans will not reach this level.  Even at this rate though, over 85% of the population is literate.¨

Many boys and girls cannot go to school because they do not have birth certificates — and many drop out before reaching high school. Even when we do go to school, it’s very difficult to find a job in the community so that we can put our education to use, say some youth.

If you are a woman planning to go to DR alone or with a friend, I would recommend. bring lots of sun protector, be willing to dance and learn some Spanish words and the bachata. Be careful with the mosquitoes and drink lots of water.
But be aware of your surroundings, bring candy and school supplies for the kids. If you choose a monster truck safari adventure, make sure the crew does not drink alcohol the way they did in my trip (except the driver, the reason why I kept going), and make sure they are less noisy and be more specific on the history and customs of the place.

I was not to keen in knowing how long it take a rooster or chicken to die in their cock fighting, have a word of encouragement to young women and kids working in the street.

It is a wonderful country full of possibilities, But there is a need for a new look into the future of their youth.
Be aware of some chaos in the streets - no helmets, 3 to 4 passengers and no night lights.

Go to DR and enjoy the beauty of this part of the country. You will be safe and have a great time!

The best places on earth to Travel - AZORES - by FORBES

Take a trip someplace that's unlike any other on Earth.
A big part of travel is that feeling you get when experiencing something completely new, something you haven't seen or done before. Many travel destinations offer an amenity or two that other places don't -- but there are only a few locations in the world that offer a truly unique experience.
Some of these places are wonders of nature -- a spot where the flora or fauna can't be found elsewhere, or where the mountains stretch the landscape to impressive formations. Other destinations are unique because of man-made features -- entire islands created out of sand, underwater museums designed to decay, or hotels shaved from ice.
Hot or cold, undeveloped or overly elaborate, these locations offer something you can't get anywhere else, which is as good a reason as any to plan a trip.

The Azores

Explore the dramatic natural beauty and bounty of crater lakes in this collection of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the North Atlantic. Portuguese by language, it has a culture and cuisine all its own. Feast on the geothermally heated hotpots called cozido das furnas, which consist of mixtures of meats and stews and are a feature of the area near Sao Miguel.